Jimmy's Garage

  • 4.9 of 5 stars
2 reviews

52 Ocean View Rd, Ocracoke, NC, us

(252) 928-6603


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They are always honest
They are competent
Their repair price is reasonable
They complete the work in a timely manner
They respond well when they screw something up
They take the time to explain the problems and necessary repairs
They treat male and female customers in the same manner
They are always honest
I would use this mechanic again
I would recommend this mechanic to others
They fix the problem the first time
The shop is located in a safe neighborhood
The hours of operation are convenient for customers
They are near public transportation (or provide loaners, shuttle bus, rides as needed)
Jun 11, 2003
Jimmy and crew understand the problems of isolated living on the Outer Banks, and work hard to keep us all on the road. They also throw a mean party now and again!
Feb 09, 2013
  • Historyman
I am an historian and author, and experienced problems with my truck while on a research trip in 2004. This is an excerpt from my up coming book, "Out of Rebeldom at Last. Thank God" detailing my experience with Jimmy's: "Jimmy's Garage We arrived at Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, around ten that sunny morning, and double-checked the departure time for the next ferry. The posted scheduled confirmed that we had two hours to kill on the small island, so I decided to find a garage and try to get the Gypsy’s problems fixed. When I asked the attendant where I could find a repair shop, she directed me to “Jimmy’s Garage,” a surprisingly tidy little cinder block building nestled behind one of the many hotels clustered together on the main thoroughfare of the tiny atoll. “What can I do for ya,” the woman behind the counter smiled at me when I walked in. The maroon colored linoleum floor was clean, and appeared well kept, as did the rest of the tiny shop, which is always a good sign that the proprietor takes their business seriously. “I’m not too sure. I got a Ford pickup that won’t start. I think it’s the battery.” I replied. “Well, hang on and let me take care of this gentleman,” she said nodding to the older man standing beside me, “and we’ll see what we can figure out.” I walked out to the truck, which I’d kept running, and told my companions we’d soon uncover the problem. In about five minutes, the lady I’d spoken with came out the big double bay doors of the garage with a young man she introduced as “Jimmy.” Jimmy tested the battery, and confirmed what Joe and I had suspected. “Yep, that battery’s no good. Got a dead cell. I think I got one around here. Let me check.” He thinks he has a battery? I thought as I followed him into one of the two bays. This is a garage. I’d assume garages kept batteries on hand for just such an emergency. He rummaged around some shelves, then turned and said, “Yep, got one right here that’ll work. Ain’t the best battery ya could buy, but it’s all I got handy. If ya want a better one, I can get it, but you’ll have ta wait till tomorrow. Can’t get away till later tonight ta go ta the mainland ta get one.” I hadn’t considered the problems the island residents faced getting what they needed. When Jimmy told me the battery he considered not the best would cost me $105.00, plus tax, I’d foolishly thought myself the target of a common price gouge probably made on every tourist unfortunate enough to need his help. “How much” I asked incredulously. I‘ve suffered the loss of quite a bit of my hearing from various causes over the forty some odd years I’ve walked this planet, and seriously hoped I’d simply misunderstood Jimmy. The dead battery, (and one of the better ones, I might add!), had only cost around sixty dollars when I’d bought it three or four years ago. Surely, I’d mistaken him, so I leaned closer to insure I heard his response clearly. “A hunert n five dollars. Plus tax,” my damaged ears clearly heard Jimmy repeat. “Let me think about it a minute,” I said, growing angrier at this perceived injustice, but realizing I had no choice, not if I wanted a truck I could rely upon to start when needed. I hadn’t had time in the morning’s excitement to find an ATM machine, and feared I couldn’t muster up that much money. “I gotta go get some cash.” “Take ya time. I ain’t goin nowhere,” he smiled. Convinced of Jimmy’s con, my temper grew faster than the shimmering heat waves rising from the black asphalt. I told Corine and Joe that good ol’ Jimmy wanted $105.00 for a battery he’d claimed was and if I wanted a higher quality one, we’d have to wait until tomorrow. “if a one costs that much, what the heck’s a good one gonna cost?” I angrily wondered. “Jimmy’s Garage” had the only professional mechanics in Ocracoke, and I had no doubt that the business thrived by cheating unfortunate tourists. I’d experienced such shysters during my time in the Marine Corps, and I knew a scam when I saw one. At least I thought I did until Corine reminded me, “Baby, that’s probably not a bad price. I mean by the time he goes to the mainland, buys the battery, and gets back, if you figure he’s gotta be paid for his time, his gas, I mean $105 might seem like a lot, but ya gotta take all that into account, ya know.” Daggone you and your IUS degree I thought with a grin, and my anger dissipated in a flash. I’d indeed forgotten that Jimmy’s operated his business on an island forty miles off the coast. Those of us who don’t live on isolated sand bars far out to sea take for granted the commodities we can so easily grab at the nearest mega-shopping mall, but those who live in the isolated splendor of the Outer Banks must get their supplies from the mainland by one of two routes. The first option for the inhabitants who call the tiny, isolated communities home is Highway 12, which stretches for approximately one hundred miles from Corolla to Ocracoke, North Carolina. Bridges span the open expanses of water separating the islands, and the trip can be a lengthy, time-consuming drive depending on where you live on the shifting sandbars, but the long, lonely stretch of black top doesn’t join every island in the Outer Banks, and those residents who don’t wish to drive the desolate and deserted roadway, or don’t want to pay someone else to make the time consuming drive, can opt for the second method of attaining their needed supplies: they can take one of several ferries operated by the North Carolina Ferry System. The regularly scheduled ferry rides vary from thirty minutes to the granddaddy of them all, the two and a half hour, twenty-five mile trip across Pamlico Sound aboard the black and white M/V Silver Lake. The ship carries vehicles, passengers, and small cargo over the wide expanse of water separating Ocracoke from Swan Quarter, North Carolina, on the mainland. We’d travel aboard the Silver Lake once we’d gotten the Gypsy repaired, and all things considered, Jimmy’s offer didn’t seem so bad. “I’ll pay for it, dude, but we gotta find an ATM,” Joe offered, so we asked Jimmy where we might find one. “Right over there,” he told us, pointing down the street. I told him to go ahead with the job, but he said he couldn’t right away and it would probably be at least an hour before he’d have the Gypsy finished. In our hurry to get on the road that morning, we’d skipped breakfast, so we asked him where we could find a decent place to get a good meal at a reasonable price. “The Pony’s got good food.” He nodded his head in the direction of the “Pony Island” diner, a little restaurant directly across the road from his garage. “Cheap, too,” he said, so we left Jimmy to his chores, and walked down the sandy path to the ATM. Joe pulled the money we needed from his account, yelled his usual “I won!” and handed me six crisp new twenty dollar bills. “That enough?” he asked. “Presheeate it, “ I thanked him as I slid my card in the machine. I’d been disappointed by the convenient little money dispensers so many times over the last six days, and don’t know what I expected to happen when I pushed the button marked “account balance” but more rejection. The machine didn’t disappoint me; the hideous little contraption spat out a note that read: “Transaction cannot be completed at this time.” It finished by asking me to “Try again,” so just for the of it, I pushed the button marked “20 Fast Cash.” I knew the money wasn’t in my depleted account, and stood waiting in the hot morning sun for the machine to deny my request due to what an acquaintance refers to as “insignificant funds.” Imagine my surprise when a crisp new twenty popped out of the machine. What’s this? I wondered as my heart pounded in my chest. Is it possible? Could there finally be money in my account? I looked at the receipt in my hand, eagerly searching for the “available balance” entry, and yelled a hearty “Yeeeee Haaaa!” when I saw my account had $1,387; my funds had finally arrived, and all was well with the world again. I handed Joe back his money, and withdrew another $300. We headed back down the street to break our fast, but before we went in, I crossed the street to check on Jimmy’s progress. The lady at the front counter met me in one of the bay doors, and said, “Honey, the problem ain’t your battery. The battery’s good. Your alternator is fried. We can replace it, but not till tomorrow. Jimmy’ll have to go get one.” I stood there stunned. I’d gone from angry to elation to frustration in the span of about ten minutes, and had had about enough of the emotional roller coaster. “Isn’t there anything else you can do?” I pleaded. “I have to catch the 12:45 ferry. I gotta make it. I gotta be in D.C tonight, and I don’t wanna try the trip with a bad alternator and a dead battery.” “Washington by tonight? Boy, you are in a hurry, ain’t ya?” she observed. “Jimmy! C’mere a minute,” she yelled across the open garage. Jimmy ambled over, and the pair, completely ignoring me, discussed my options. Jimmy said he could charge the dead battery, which would take an hour or so, and assured me the charge would last until we reached the mainland. “I’d recommend ya get one fast as ya can though,” he advised. I looked at my watch—10:45—plenty of time to make the ferry with time to spare. “Go ahead,” I told him. My exhilaration at discovering that I was no longer financially destitute with a crippled truck seven hundred some odd miles from home had aroused my appetite, and though still seven hundred miles from home with a crippled truck, I sure as heck wasn’t broke any more. What I was was famished. My stomach growled as I told the pair, “I’m gonna go eat before I starve to death. I’ll be back about noon.” Jimmy replied, “Go ahead. I ain’t goin anywhere,” and while I wondered if he knew any other goodbye greetings, his assessment of the Pony proved correct. We read the story of the huge herd of wild horses that have inhabited Ocracoke for as long as the island’s recorded history printed on the placemats on the table while we waited for our late breakfast, and when finished with our tasty meal, decided to unload the bikes and explore the tiny town in the hour or so left to us. We bought our tickets for the ferry ride, and then visited several of the souvenir shops that are the main source of income for the island’s residents. We bought a few trinkets, and then rode the mile or so off the main road to the short, stubby white structure supporting the navigational beacon on Ocracoke Island. We returned to Jimmy’s around 12:15, and true to his word, the Gypsy sat in the lot, ready and waiting to go. Jimmy warned me I’d better leave the radio and air-conditioner turned off. I didn’t plan to do the former because I hadn’t had much luck finding a radio station in the middle of North Carolina that played music I liked. Joe and I both laughed out loud at the latter. I’m sure Corine’s guffaws would have joined ours had she not been inside paying the bill. When she returned, we thanked Jimmy and the lady behind the counter for all their help, and left for our sea going adventure. As we drove toward the landing, I asked Corine how much we’d been charged. Her answer astounded me. The bill had only been twenty dollars. Jimmy could have shafted me in any number of ways; he could have sold me a new battery, which would have served us for the next day or two, and by the time we discovered the problem didn’t lie with the battery, we’d have been hundreds of miles from Ocracoke, too far away to do much more than and complain about the terrible way we’d been treated; he could have sold me a new battery, and an alternator, and I may never have discovered that I’d been ripped off; but Jimmy dealt fairly with me, and if you ever find yourself with car trouble near Ocracoke, I highly recommend him and his business. Thank you, Jimmy—and the lady behind the counter.

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Geocoding courtesy of USC Spatial Sciences Institute